Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy wants 9 million dollars set aside in this year’s appropriations bill for Vermont start-ups.
Leahy is a long-term partner with the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies, a company designed to work with and support local entrepreneurs.
“The dollar return is so enormous on the amount of money invested,” said Senator Leahy.
To help support Vermont’s creative thinkers, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee is working to create a new seed capital fund for VCET.
“It’s not just for investors, it’s jobs and jobs are being created, and keeping people here in vermont where we want them,” said Leahy.
His visit to the Burlington-based company is part of a broader effort to improve the state economy and keep young Vermonters in state. He heard from 11 entrepreneurs in a roundtable discussion Tuesday afternoon. Many shared with him that they moved to Vermont during the pandemic to start their business.
“It’s been an incredible journey, and building that technology for that here has been amazing,” said Seymore Gregorio. A father himself, Gregorio is trying to address the childcare crisis with an app called “My Super Sitter.”
“We focus on caregiver burnout and retention, we also focus on flexible care, which is part-time sitters, we focus on back-up care, and also full-time care. One of our main missions is making it accessible to every parent across the united states,” said Gregorio.
Another entrepreneur is an incoming senior at the University of Vermont. Co-founder of UVM’s Arc Program Skylar Bagdon is working to turn the results of a research study into a viable business.
“So for the past four or five, there were researchers at the University of Vermont really passionately trying to find solutions for people experiencing panic attacks,” said Bagdon.
He says Leahy’s visit and effort to secure 9 million dollars allows him and his team to grow their start-ups.
“Spaces like this and the capital that supports it is what supports me and my entire team to live here, work on start-ups…so really it’s huge,” said Bagdon.
Leahy says this funding request is a top priority. He was joined by VCET’s many partners, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and Lt. Governor Molly Gray.
“This is such an exciting moment for Vermont. There is so much that we know about the state that we are more than dairy farms and cover bridges, though I love both, we are founders of start-ups, we are innovators, we are entrepreneurs,” said Gray.
Mayor Miro Weinberger says he has long-believed Vermont should be a place for young people to start a life, career, and family.
“You need economic opportunity for that to happen, and this announcement, the work that happens at VCET, the incredible work of the entrepreneurs that are working out of this space and other spaces like it around the city is key to achieving that vision,” said Weinberger.
Leahy told VCET his 9 million dollar funding request is a top priority.
“The other members of the committee have some requests of their own. They know this is the number one request for mine. I have a feeling it’s going to make it through.”